Hallahan High School Building Interior

The interior of Hallahan is impressive without seeming opulent, but the touches of marble and stained glass have held up well after 107 years of teenagers' wear and tear.

The marble-lined Wood Street entrance has a stained glass transom window depicting the four virtues of a Hallahan woman: industry, faith, knowledge, and modesty. There are two portraits and plaques honoring John W. Hallahan and Mary Hallahan McMichan.

This mosaic leading from the foyer also references the four virtues.

Roman numerals on the right translate to 1963, and the names along the edges are those of students who graduated in 1963 and made this mosaic, along with the name of a Sister who supervised.

Mosaic on the other side of the transom window, apparently from the class of 1967.

Stained glass above the 19th Street entrance. This is not visible from the outside due to the protective metal grille.

Display in first floor hall commemorating the groundbreaking on April 29, 1911. This shovel was used by Mrs. McMichan and Bishop Prendergast.

Modern chapel on the first floor with windows facing Wood Street.

The Stations of the Cross, observed Fridays in Lent, are on the back wall.

Tiled alcove on the east end of the first floor with Mary and the child Jesus, placed here in 1954. Except for the wall sconces, there has been no change since 1954.

The month of May is dedicated to Mary, and there used to be a traditional May procession from Hallahan to the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. An honored Hallahan student, dressed in white, would lead the procession as the May Queen.

The processional down the Parkway seems to have ended around 1971, but there is still an observance within the high school itself.

Life-size crucifix at the east end of the second floor.

A crucifix is a cross with a depiction, usually in three dimensions, of the body of Christ. The INRI sign on top is an anagram for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum," or "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." This phrase represents the crime of political blasphemy for which Jesus was condemned. The stab wound in the right chest was perpetrated by a Roman soldier to confirm that Jesus was dead, a critical signal, since Jesus had to be dead to be truly resurrected.

1917 photo of the third floor auditorium, called Alumnae Hall.

Masses were held here every Friday. Notice the skylight, of which there are three. There is seating for 330 on the lower level, plus potentially 150 in the mezzanine.

2019 photos of Alumnae Hall

In the 1920's an organ was donated. The skylights, on right, are obscured by dirt but if cleaned up would make this auditorium an even more spectacular venue.

The transom stained glass window above the entrance to Alumnae Hall, from the inside.

The words at top say "Maria Immaculata," and down below are the words "In Memory of Mary A. O'Mara Hallahan," who was the mother of Mrs. McMichan and John Hallahan.

Stairwell alcove with a statue of Pope Pius X, who was declared a saint in 1954. 

His papal seal is below the statue. In his left hand he holds a scroll with the words "Instaurare Omnia in Christo," his motto from Ephesians 1:10 which translates as "Restore all things in Christ."

Pius X had been a conservative who opposed modernism within the church. These four words were supposedly uttered as his last words on his deathbed in 1914.

As you ascend the stairs into the former Cathedral Parochial School, now called the Cathedral building, you can see the exterior features of the Cathedral school that are now interior after the connecting bridge stairs were added in 1930.

Stained glass skylight in the media room on the third floor of the Cathedral building, which had served as a chapel in the past. The altar was on the east side of the chapel as is traditional in Catholic churches.

For brief biographies of the women whose names are carved in the terracotta panels on the exterior, see here.

Matthias Baldwin Park 

423 N 19th St 

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to preserve the Matthias Baldwin Park

© 2018 Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park